Invaders From Earth by Robert Silverberg covers the ever-timely subject of Public Relations.  Indeed, one need only use the term P.R. and you know that lies are about to flow, and in this case, the lies are as grand and ubiquitous as anything we suffer today. 

The story of Invaders From Earth tells of the discovery of valuable minerals on the moon Ganymede, and the predictable consequences on that moon for the local population of aliens who live there.  Needless to say, when the Gannies decide their minerals aren’t for sharing or even selling, the men of earth decide to simply take them, and that they are going to start a war.


What is truly cool about Invaders From Earth however, is not the fact that people-kind are described so brutally as despoilers and thieves, but the fact that all of this is viewed through the eyes of one of their most crucial agents — the man who is devising the public relations effort to back up the war.  In short, he concocts a pack of lies about the Gannies, who are a peaceful and gentle race, and relying on people-kind’s natural distrust of otherness, he paints a vulgar and violent picture of the aliens, enough to convince the people of Earth.


Earth's colony on Ganymede is under attack.

The people of Earth demand reprisal, and the United Nations must take action to protect the interests of the people.

But Ted Kennedy is worried. He has been to Ganymede and seen the "people"; and knows a truth too terrifying to reveal.

Only he can convince the leaders of Earth that they are victims of a hoax.

His life may be forfeit, but he is determined to live long enough to stop the


Invaders from Earth is actually an expansion of  the Silverberg story "We, the Marauders", and for a book published first in 1958 it holds up remarkably well.  Sure, virtually no writer in the 1950s predicted the rise of computers or even saw anything digital in the offing, and so people are still playing LPs in 2044, but aside from these small matters, Silverberg drops us into a corporately managed world, where people-kind are intent on raping resources, and lying to the public via an eager news media — perfect themes for science fiction, or indeed, factual works.

At the core of this story however is a strong distrust of authority, including the media and large corporations, and a desire in the face of clear corruption, to do the right thing.  We see advertising executive Ted Kennedy at home with his wife, and at work where the interplay of office politics, the various characters and drives for promotion and a larger pay packet are played out excellently.  We also see people in action against a far weaker civilisation, one that appears to them to be weak, when in fact all it is, is pacifist.

The story, as you would expect, positively races forward from its modest beginning sin suburban America, to the well imagined adventures on the planet of Ganymede.  Although most blurb for Invaders From Earth describes Ganymede as a planet, it is proper I think to describe it as a moon, being a satellite of Jupiter — sometimes actually described as a companion, however.  What Silverberg has correct however is that as the largest moon in our solar system, Ganymede might have ice and oceans stacked up in several layers  and it may have once been a suitable environment for primitive life.  Previously, the moon was thought to harbour a thick ocean sandwiched between just two layers of ice, one on top and one on bottom, but more recent studies have revealed that it has multiple layers.

None of this makes Ganymede a pleasant place for people to be, but to the Gannies it's home, and the fact that mankind wants it for they-selves indicates that another timely message concerning the rapine lust of capitalism is at hand . . .

The road was crowded.  Bumper to bumper, deflector plate to deflector plate, the little enameled beetles clung together on the Thruway. Kennedy sweated behind the wheel.  The air-conditioners labored mightily. At his side Marge looked fresh and gay in her light summer clothes, red halter and light blue briefs.  Her legs glistened; she wore the latest aluminium sprayons.